Community Law Center

Lawyers for Neighborhoods & Nonprofits

Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on December 11, 2014.

December 18, 2014

11:00 a.m. cases

I. Transfers and amendments:

Applicant Michael Buscher
Business Name 27 Cross Associates, LLC
Trading As Crazy Lil’s
Address 27 E. Cross Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership (change corporation)
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski represented the applicant, Mr. Buscher, who was present at the hearing, with no opposition. Kodenski explained to the Board that the applicant has been on the license for ten years and is just changing the corporate entity that is associated with the license, because of a real estate transaction. The licensee has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the South Baltimore Improvement Committee.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Federal Hill
Area demographics 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 15% households have children under age 18; median household income: $73,342; 8% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1212 York Rd, Lutherville, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Matthew Pierce
Business Name Harlan Incorporated
Trading As trade name pending
Address 225-27 W. 23rd Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership, request for outdoor table service & off-premises catering
Hearing notes

Mr. Abraham Hurdle represented the applicants, Harlan Inc. and Matthew Pierce. Mr. Douglas Armstrong represented the Remington Neighborhood Alliance, which was in opposition to the transfer.

Mr. Matthew Pierce testified that he had been an assistant manager for two years at nearby bar WC Harlan. The bar has not had a violation since it opened and has received accolades and awards, including Best of Baltimore, awards from the City Paper and mentions in New York Magazine and Baltimore Magazine. To Mr. Pierce’s knowledge, there have been no noise issues or neighborhood complaints about WC Harlan. Pierce testified that he had reached out to the two community groups in the area, Remington Neighborhood Alliance and the Greater Remington Improvement Association. They also went door to door on 23rd Street, gathering signatures on a petition in favor of the new establishment. There are several letters of support in the file. They are applying for outdoor table service as part of the application. The building is currently located in an “M-2-2″ district, which permits outdoor tables as a matter of right. Pierce testified that the area is mostly industrial where they hope to open their new restaurant.

Mr. Brian Weeks, a resident of Remington, who lives a half mile from the proposed new establishment, vouched for Mr. Pierce as a friend. Weeks said that Pierce and his wife, Lane Harlan, have a great attention to detail and have put their heart and soul into their bar. He said that the same attention to detail extends to their relationship with the community. They have become very active in coming to GRIA meetings and presenting their plans. Ms. Jenna Hattenburg agreed with Mr. Weeks. She lives above WC Harlan, and she testified that the bar is very quiet and she supports the transfer. Commissioner Moore asked whether Harlan and Pierce are Hattenburg’s landlords; she replied that they are. Moore asked her whether she was promised anything in return for her testimony, and Ms. Hattenburg responded that she was not; she came in voluntarily. Mr. Woody Ranere, who lives seven blocks away, testified, with a baby in his arms, that he also supports the transfer. Mr. Ryan Flanigan, Vice President of GRIA, also testified in enthusiastic support of the project. He said that the owners had been thoroughly vetted by GRIA’s board and membership.

Commissioner Moore asked whether this block would be impacted by redevelopment in the area. The applicants responded that the particular block is cut off from the redevelopment that is going on in Remington. There are not many residences in the area, and the community members don’t foresee residences being added in the near future. Commissioner Moore asked whether the license that is being transferred is valid and in use. Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth, Executive Secretary of the Board, told the Commissioners that the license to be transferred is valid and has been in existence since 1934.

Mr. Pierce testified that RNA never responded to their emails to discuss the project; he testified that he reached out three or four times, through his wife. Each time, RNA either requested more information or did not respond. Ms. Brittany Lane Harlan, Pierce’s wife and the licensee at WC Harlan, testified that she had reached out to RNA in November 2014. They never requested that she attend one of their meetings.

Mr. Douglas Armstrong, Vice President of RNA, told the Board that he was before them in lieu of his wife, Joan Floyd, President of RNA. He pointed out two problems with the application. The first problem is that there is no evidence in the file that Mr. Matthew Pierce is a registered voter and Baltimore City taxpayer. Second, RNA had a problem with the ownership of the business. Mr. Pierce said that he was the full owner, but it was generally understood in the neighborhood that Ms. Harlan would be significantly involved in the new restaurant. Armstrong pointed out that Mr. Pierce never contacted RNA; only Ms. Harlan did. Mr. Armstrong said that RNA did not have any objections to Mr. Pierce’s character or fitness, but RNA is just asking that the rules of the Liquor Board be met in order to have a legal transfer. Armstrong added, “this is not a plebescite.”

Mr. Hurdle, in response to RNA’s objections, pointed out that there is a letter from Deputy Executive Secretary Thomas Akras to Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth saying that renters qualify as taxpayers because their rent goes to paying the taxes on their rented building. Armstrong said that this is a conflicting position from the one held by the former Deputy Executive Secretary, Ms. Jane Schroeder. Mr. Hurdle also pointed out that Harlan and Pierce are legally married. Armstrong noted that one married partner does nto necessarily have the responsibility to perform the duties of the other spouse. Mr. Hurdle noted, in conclusion, that Ms. Harlan is not listed anywhere in the Articles of Incorporation of Harlan, Inc. and Mr. Pierce does not own stock in WC Harlan’s corporate entity. Pierce told the Board that he is a registered voter, but he did not have his voter registration card with him.

Commissioner Moore asked Armstrong whether he had any objection to Pierce’s concept for his restaurant. Armstrong replied that he has no knowledge of Pierce’s concept. His main concern is whether Pierce meets the requirements of the law.

Zoning M-2-2
Neighborhood Remington
Area demographics 44% White, 35% Black, 3% 2 or more races, 13% Asian, 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 11% households have children under age 18; median household income: $30,130.79; 14% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 225 W 23rd St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Abraham Hurdle
# in support ~10
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 1
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None.
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

The Commissioners all voted that Mr. Pierce qualifies to be a licensee, but they did not explain why, given Mr. Armstrong’s voiced concerns that there is no record of Pierce’s voter registration or status as a Maryland taxpayer.

II. Hardship extension requests:

Applicant Michael Felner, Secured Creditor
Business Name N/A
Trading As N/A
Address 1415 Washington Boulevard
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d).
Hearing notes

Mr. Michael Felner represented himself as the secured creditor for the license and owner of Pigtown Ale House. Mr. Heinz Murray, of Citizens of Pigtown, was also present in support of the hardship extension request.

Chairman Ward asked Felner what legal grounds he had to request an additional hardship extension, on top of what he had already received. Felner responded that he is still continuously operating his business by renovating it. The law doesn’t define what “operations” is, according to Felner. He argued that renovating the premises should be considered part of operating an alcoholic beverages establishment. Chairman Ward disagreed. He told Felner that the law says that a licensee is entitled to 180 days of being closed, at the end of which a licensee may request one 180-day extension. Felner has already received a 180-day extension, which runs out in March 2015.

Felner explained to the Board the business troubles he has been having. He hired a design firm that did not do the work he requested. He now has to hire a new architectural firm. He’s submitted his requests for historic tax credits and facade permits. He told the Board that every time he talked to the Liquor Board’s staff, they told him not to worry about any deadlines. Felner said that he understands that the Board is in a transitional phase. Ward interrupted him and said “we’re not in transition; that’s a bad choice of words.”

Ward agreed with Felner that bureaucracies have emerged in the past 10-15 years that have complicated processes for business owners. Permits are more difficult to get. But the Board cannot change the law, and if the legislature changes the law this upcoming session, it wouldn’t go into effect until July 2015. Ward told Felner that he is not entitled to any more extensions, but perhaps Felner may change his mind.

Mr. Felner said that he agrees with Ward, that the code needs to change. He argued that his property is not vacated. Felner is at the property two or three times per week, working with various contractors and designers. He has been moving equipment into the space and has gotten demolition permits. Commissioner Jones interjected that getting permits should not take a long time. Before the hearing ended, Felner emphasized again that the Liquor Board’s staff gave him the impression that time was not an issue. He said that the attitude was pervasive throughout the office that he did not have to rush. Felner said that he did not believe that the intent of the 180-day timing in the statute was to revoke his license.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Washington Village/Pigtown
Area demographics BNIA did not have demographic information for this neighborhood.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? N/A
Location of entity’s principal office N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Denied
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward told Felner, again, that he is not entitled to more than one extension, which he has already received. Commissioner Jones agreed with Ward. He remembered that one of the Commissioners told Mr. Felner that he would not receive any additional time when he had received his hardship extension. Ward reminded Jones that Jones had told Felner, “not one extra day.” Commissioner Moore agreed with her fellow board members. She told Felner that she is sympathetic to his situation, but the law doesn’t allow the Board to give him more time. Moore said, “all of what we do here is driven by time. There are deadlines. That is what this whole exchange of “not a day more” was all about. Time matters. Time is of the essence. … You have no more time.”

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Lydia Fitzsimmons, James Saufley & Eric Butterfield
Business Name Roxie’s Restaurant Group, LLC
Trading As Fredericks on Fleet
Address 2112 Fleet Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d)
Hearing notes

Mr. Charles E Brooks represented the applicants for the hardship extension. He reminded the Board that the restaurant had closed on June 28, 2014. They had formerly appeared before the Board to request a hardship extension on October 2, 2014 and were granted the extension. Brooks was asking the Board for an additional extension to carry the business through to June 23, 2015, which is 360 days from when the business closed. He told the Commissioners that the applicants are looking for a buyer, working in conjunction with the landlord for the property. They have invested substantial sums of money and they have made every effort to sell or assign their rights to a new buyer. The current licensees and applicants for the second hardship extension were not present at this hearing.

Chairman Ward said that Brooks’ problem is that he already requested and received a hardship extension of 180 days on October 2, 2014. Ward said that Brooks had already exhausted his rights under the statute. Brooks replied that the first 180 days are automatically given to licensees, without needing to request a hardship extension.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Canton
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 2112 Fleet St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Charles Brooks
# in support 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Denied
Vote tally 2-1, Moore dissenting
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward voted against the hardship extension request. He reasoned that Mr. Brooks’ clients have already received their one allotted hardship extension request. Commissioner Jones agreed with Ward.

Commisisoner Moore disagreed. She said that there had been some confusion at the October 2 hearing, and she believed that Mr. Brooks had not received a hardship extension at that prior hearing. She remembered that the Board had told Mr. Brooks to come back and ask for his hardship extension closer to the end of the first 180 day period. She said that Mr. Brooks had been asking for an extension that would go from the end of his client’s “free” 180 days for an additional 180 days, and that was what she believed that the Board had given him at the time. Moore expressed again that there had been confusion in this case, because she wouldn’t think that Mr. Brooks would make a premature request that would deprive his client of their first “free” 180 days.

Ms. Bailey-Hedgepeth then said that Mr. Brooks had not received a 180 days hardship extension from the Board on October 2; she said that the request before the Commissioners was for the licensee’s “first and only” request, because the request was not granted in October.

(For the Booze News post on the prior hearing, which does reflect the Commissioners’ confusion about this issue, click here.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed **

III. Reconsideration:

Applicants Barbara Bollack & Dennis Hagan
Business Name Bab’s, Inc.
Trading As BG’s Pub
Address 617-19 S. Oldham Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for reconsideration of the Board’s decision of April 10, 2014
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski represented Ms. Barbara Bollack, in a hearing to address questions asked by the Circuit Court on remand to the Board.

Chairman Ward asked Kodenski, “why did the Court send the issue back [to the Board]?” Kodenski responded that “it was unclear as to what the Board determined” during the prior hearing, on April 10, 2014. Ms. Bollack had requested a hardship extension from the Board in a letter dated March 17, 2014. Her license was paid for and renewed through April 30, 2014. The Board granted a reconsideration request submitted by Mr. Kodenski on May 8, 2014, but Commissioners Smith and Jones ruled the same way again, that the license is expired, under Article 2B section 10-504(d).

Commissioner Moore said that she read the transcript of the April 10 hearing, in which Ms. Bollack testified that she had not operated as a bar since March 2012. She had no records of sales or purchases after March 2012, and her building was sold by its owner on May 15, 2013. Moore said that Bollack acknowledged to the Commissioners that she hadn’t been in operation for almost two years. Moore said that this is why the Board denied the hardship extension; Ms. Bollack’s license is no longer effective.

Kodenski replied that the Circuit Court, in their findings, was relying on the Baines case, which says that “the Board can’t take people’s money and then tell them they don’t have a license.” Moore replied that the Board looks at whether the licensees are actually operating or not. The licensee testified that she certainly was not in operation after her building was sold. If she ceased business in May 2013, then her license expired in November 2013. She submitted her hardship extension request in March 2014. At that point, the license had already expired.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Greektown
Area demographics 52% White, 12% Black, 3% Asian; 30% Hispanic ethnicity; 30% households have children under age 18; median household income: $38,987.50.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? No, the corporate entity was forfeited by the state of Maryland on October 3, 2014.
Location of entity’s principal office 617-19 S. Oldham St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Prior ruling upheld.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

IV. Transfers pending for more than 180 days

Applicants Ian Parrish & Charles Parrish
Business Name Baltimore Eagle, LLC
Trading As Baltimore Eagle
Address 2022 N. Charles Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Review of a transfer pending for more than 180 days.
Hearing notes The case was not called.
Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Charles North
Area demographics 53% White, 32% Black, 8% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; median household income: $38,331; 5.5% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 5839 Glen Arm Rd, Glen Arm, MD
Attorney for licensee N/A
# in support N/A
Attorney for community N/A
# of protestants N/A
# of inspectors/police officers N/A
Result of hearing N/A
Vote tally None
Portions of state law cited in decision N/A
Other reasons given for decision N/A
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed The case was not called, and no one explained why. It would be helpful for observers to give a brief explanation of why a hearing will not be held, rather than to skip it entirely.

1:00 pm cases

V. Violations:

Licensees Robert Curran & Joyce Yun Chong
Business Name Max’s Charles Village, LLC
Trading As Maxie’s Pizza Bar & Grille
Address 3003 N. Charles Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License.
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 3.02: Cooperation – October 24, 2014 – At approximately 11:30 PM Officer observed suspected underage patrons being served and consuming alcoholic beverages inside of the establishment. Officers began to conduct an investigation to determine if patrons were indeed underage. Establishment employee then began to tell suspected underage bar patrons to “hide in the restrooms” in order to avoid contact with Officers.

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Minors – October 24, 2014 – At approximately 11:30 PM Officer entered the establishment and observed an individual consuming alcohol in the form of a “Corona Extra” bottle of beer who was later identified as someone who was 18 years of age. This individual admitted to the Officer that he was allowed to purchase the bottle of beer from the establishment, after his identification – which indicated he was 18 years old – had been checked.

Violation of Rule 4.18: Illegal Conduct — – October 24, 2014 – At approximately 11:30 PM Officer entered the establishment and later identified an underage patron that was consuming alcohol. The patron informed the Officer that after he showed his identification to the assistant manager, which indicated that the patron was only 18 years old, he was given a blue wristband that indicated he was 21 years old and could purchase alcohol. He later told the Officer that he used the wristband and purchase alcohol.

Hearing notes The case was not called.
Zoning R-9
Neighborhood Charles Village
Area demographics 44% White, 35% Black, 3% 2 or more races, 13% Asian, 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 11% households have children under age 18; median household income: $30,130.79; 14% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Max’s Charles Village, LLC does not exist, according to SDAT.
Location of entity’s principal office The entity does not exist.
Attorney for licensee N/A
# in support N/A
Attorney for community N/A
# of protestants N/A
# of inspectors/police officers N/A
Result of hearing N/A
Vote tally N/A
Portions of state law cited in decision N/A
Other reasons given for decision N/A
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed The case was not called, and no one explained why. It would be helpful for observers to give a brief explanation of why a hearing will not be held, rather than to skip it entirely.
Licensee Rory Yanes
Business Name Compadres-1, LLC
Trading As El Antro
Address 4020 E. Lombard Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 3.12: Public Welfare– November 23 , 2014 – At approximately 1:48 AM Officer observed a bloodied individual approach her vehicle and state that he was seriously assaulted in the parking lot of “El Antro.” The Officer was able to detain 3 suspected who were later identified as the individuals who committed the assault against the victim. Investigation by the Officer revealed that there was a verbal altercation that occurred inside of “El Antro” and that the suspects followed the victim out to the establishment’s parking lot and assaulted him. The victim was sent to the hospital with serious physical injuries.

Violation of Rule 4.18: Illegal Conduct — November 23, 2014 – At approximately 1:48 AM Officer observed a bloodied individual approach her vehicle and state that he was seriously assaulted in the parking lot of “El Antro.” The Officer was able to detain 3 suspected who were later identified as the individuals who committed the assault against the victim. Investigation by the Officer revealed that there was a verbal altercation that occurred inside of “El Antro” and that the suspects followed the victim out to the establishment’s parking lot and assaulted him. Both the verbal and physical altercation happened on the grounds of “El Antro.”

Violation of Rule 4.02: Inebriates and Drug Addicts — November 23 , 2014 – At approximately 1:48 AM Officer conducted an investigation into an assault on the grounds of “El Antro” and arrested 3 suspects. The 2 of the suspects admitted to being in “El Antruso” and consuming alcohol. All 3 suspects were inebriated as all slurred their speech, had bloodshot eyes, and one of them began vomiting uncontrollably in police presence.

Hearing notes

Mr. John Pica, Jr. represented the licensee. He requested that the Board postpone the case, because he had just been hired to represent the licensees five or six days beforehadn. Mr. Thomas Akras, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Liquor Board, agreed to the postponement, but pointed out to the Commissioners that he and the Baltimore Police officers were present and ready for the hearing. Chairman Ward told Mr. Pica that he would not receive any further postponements.

Zoning M-3
Neighborhood Baltimore Highlands
Area demographics 52% White, 12% Black, 3% Asian, 2% 2 or more races, 30% Hispanic ethnicity, 30% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $39,874.02; 18% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 4020 E Lombard St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. John Pica
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 4
Result of hearing Postponed
Vote tally None taken
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensees Stephanie Oh & Lisa Randolph
Business Name SNS Liquor Corporation
Trading As SNS Liquor
Address 2135 E. North Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 5.03(a): Class BD7 – October 16, 2014; October 31, 2014; and November 6, 2014 – On October 16, 2014 at approximately 11:15pm, an undercover officer was denied entry to bar area twice after requesting to go to the bar area and presenting his Maryland identification. Officers discovered that the bar area was being used as a storage area and not as a bar. On October 31, 2014 BLLC inspectors found during their inspection that the bar area was being used as a storage area and not as a bar. Inspectors returned on November 6, 2014 and found that the bar area was still being used as a storage area and not as a bar.

Violation of Rule 3.06: Sanitation and Safety—October 31, 2014; and November 6, 2014 – On October 31, 2014 Inspectors found boxes and debris in the bar area of the establishment. They also noted that there was stock on the floor. On November 6, 2014 Inspectors returned to the establishment and found that the violations had not yet been abated.

Violation of Rule 3.07: Restroom Facilities – October 31, 2014 and November 6, 2014 – On October 31, 2014 Inspectors found that the restroom area sink and toilet were not ready for public use. On November 6, 2014 Inspectors returned to the establishment and found that the violation had not yet been abated.

Violation of Rule 3.02: Cooperation– October 31, 2014; and November 6, 2014 – On October 16, 2014 Inspectors had warned and given notice to the owner/operators of the establishment that they were in violation of Board Rules and Regulations and must come into compliance. On November 6, 2014 returned to the establishment to inspect if the violations had been abated and found that the owner/operator had failed to come into compliance.

Hearing notes

Mr. Gary Maslan represented the licensee, who admitted to the violations. Mr. Akras recommended a 10 day suspension and $3,000 fine, to which Mr. Maslan, his client, and the police officers all agreed. Commissioner Moore asked about the history of violations at this establishment. Akras told Moore that the licensee had been found responsible for three violations on October 4, 2012. The violations were for underage sale of alcohol, indoor smoking, and failure to operate her BD-7 establishment as a tavern.

Mr. Akras read a brief statement of the facts of the current violations. On October 16, 2014, Detective Akinwande entered the store in plainclothes. He asked Ms. Janet Oh for a shot of Patron. Ms. Oh asked for Akinwande’s ID, which he gave her. She refused to let him into the tavern portion of the establishment. When Akinwande returned with his fellow uniformed officers, they found that the tavern area was filled with boxes and had obviously been used as a storage area.

In mitigation, Mr. Maslan told the Board that Ms. Stephanie Oh had had a baby less than a year ago, and her parents were running the establishment for her. Neither of her parents was in good health at the time, and merchandise piled up in the tavern portion. Since this incident, Mr. Maslan promised that the tavern had been cleaned up, and they hired an employee to help them lift heavy objects and keep things tidy. Maslan said that it “wasn’t their intention to violate the law” and Ms. Oh has corrected the issue and will be more hands-on in the future. Maslan asked for 90 days to pay the fine and asked for a reduction in the suspension of 10 days.

Commissioner Moore asked, “who is Lisa Randolph?” Maslan replied that she might be the qualified city resident on the license. Moore asked, “is Lisa Randolph operating the bar?” Ms. Oh replied that she is not.

Zoning R-7
Neighborhood Broadway East
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 35% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $26,431.68; 21% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, no.
Location of entity’s principal office 2135 E. North Ave, Baltimore, MD 21213
Attorney for licensee Mr. Gary Maslan
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 4
Result of hearing Responsible for the charges. 10 day suspension. $3,000 fine for all charges.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensees Frawing Galan & Fernado Parada
Business Name Euphoria Restaurant and Nightclub, LLC
Trading As Euphoria Restaurant and Nightclub
Address 1301 S. Ponca Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 3.02: Cooperation– November 8, 2014 – At 12:40 AM Officer observed that basement area of establishment was closed to customers for service as it was being used as a storage area. On November 1, 2014 Officer and Inspector had given notice to the operator/owner that such usage of the basement was not permitted by license and should be discontinued as it was considered a violation of Board and Fire Department Regulations.

Violation of Rule 4.02: Inebriates & Drug Addicts — November 8, 2014 – At 2:03 AM Officer responded to the establishment and observed an individual who was publicly intoxicated. An ambulance unit needed to be called to provide assistance. The individual further admitted that he had consumed alcoholic beverages at “Euphoria.”

Violation of Rule 3.12: Disturbing the Peace — November 8, 2014 – At 2:03 AM Officer responded to call for disorderly conduct at the establishment and observed a disorderly group of persons at the 900 Block of South Durham Street. The group of people were talking at a high volume and playing loud music from their vehicles.

Violation of Rule 3.06: Sanitation and Safety — November 8, 2014 – At 12:40 AM Officer observed that basement area of establishment was closed to customers for service as it was being used as a storage area. On November 1, 2014 Officer and Inspector had given notice to the operator/owner that such usage of the basement was not permitted by license and should be discontinued as it was considered a violation of Board and Fire Department Regulations.

Hearing notes The case was not called.
Zoning M-3
Neighborhood Canton Industrial Area
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no.
Location of entity’s principal office 1301 S Ponca St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee N/A
# in support N/A
Attorney for community N/A
# of protestants N/A
# of inspectors/police officers N/A
Result of hearing Not called
Vote tally N/A
Portions of state law cited in decision N/A
Other reasons given for decision N/A
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed The case was not called, and no one explained why. It would be helpful for observers to give a brief explanation of why a hearing will not be held, rather than to skip it entirely.
Licensees Pedro Rojas & Carlos Sotelo
Business Name Amigos Bar, Inc.
Trading As Amigos Bar
Address 400 S. Eaton Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.05(a): Prohibited Hours– November 2, 2014 – At 1:23 AM Officer and Inspector observed that establishment was open and operating and that patrons being served and allowed to consume alcoholic beverages. Current Class “D” license restricts open and operating period of establishment until 1:00AM.

Violation of Rule 4.18: Illegal Conduct– November 2, 2014 – At 1:23 AM Officer and Inspector observed 2 people dancing on the first floor of the establishment while music was being played. Current usage of license forbids live entertainment on first floor area.

Hearing notes

Baltimore Police Lieutenant William Colburn testified that he has been a police officer for nineteen years and he was conducting random business checks with Inspector Tom Karanikolis on November 2, 2014. At 1:23AM, Colburn noticed that the bar was open for business, but he knew that their license required them to close at 1am. There was a bouncer at the front door and a sign that said that the bar was open. Inspector Karanikolis, in plainclothes, entered the bar to look around. Two minutes later, Colburn entered the establishment and saw twelve to fifteen patrons inside, with alcoholic beverages in their hands or in front of them. There was loud music being played, with no DJ, and two people dancing. The license does not allow live entertainment. Colburn had several times in the past warned the licensees of this particular establishment for being open past 1am. Mr. Prevas cross-examined Lieutenant Colburn further about what he saw. Prevas also asked Colburn if he had noticed that the clocks went back on the night in question. Colburn said that he did remember that fact, but that the clocks had not yet been turned back that night at 2am; it was the first 1:23am.

Inspector Tom Karanikolis corroborated Colburn’s testimony. He testified that he went inside and immediately identified himself as a Liquor Board inspector. When the inspector asked the bouncer why they were open past 1am, he just shrugged. Karanikolis tried to ask the bartenders why they were open, but they couldn’t speak English. Once they figured out that he was an inspector, they tried to clean up quickly and get the bar owner on the phone. Inspector Karanikolis and Lieutenant Colburn allowed patrons to pay for their drinks before they left.

Prevas told the Board that the licensees and a few of the bartenders that were present that night were at the hearing, but there is no dispute about the facts. He made two arguments. The first related to Daylight Savings Time. Prevas noted that the Code says that a Class D license holder must be closed between 1:00am and 6:00am. He said that as long as the licensees were closed by the second 1:00am (after the clocks were set back from 2:00am to 1:00am, the licensees were in compliance with the statute. Prevas said, “1:59am is before 1:00am on this particular day of the year. In his second argument, regarding the dancing charge, that in the B-3 zone where this establishment is located, a tavern with live entertainment and dancing is a permitted use, so the licensee was not in violation of the zoning code, which is what the charge is.

Mr. Akras, in response, said that “1:00am is 1:00am is 1:00am.” The licensees admit that they were open and serving patrons after 1:00am. It doesn’t matter, argued Akras, that at 2:00am, the clocks go back to 1:00am. He also argued that Prevas should have provided him with any caselaw he wished to cite ahead of time. As far as the second argument, Akras said that the zoning law does not usurp Liquor Board rules.

In mitigation of the punishment, Prevas said that there aren’t very many Class D licenses, and this was the first Daylight Savings case he’d ever had. Prevas said that Mr. Navarro runs a quiet neighborhood bar. Ms. Bailey-Hedgepeth said that there were three letters in opposition to the bar in the file from community associations, complaining about quality of life issues. Colburn also chimed in to say that he has warned the licensees about these issues more than once, so they can’t say they weren’t aware that their license requires that they close at 1:00am. Prevas said that his clients were completely surprised about the community complaints in the file.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Highlandtown
Area demographics 52% White, 12% Black, 3% Asian, 2% 2 or more races, 30% Hispanic ethnicity, 30% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $39,874.02; 18% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 400 S Eaton St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible. 4 day suspension, $3,000 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward did not agree with the Daylight Savings argument. 2:00am goes back to 1:00am, so the licensees were in violation of the law. As far as live entertainment goes, the Liquor Board’s policy is that dancing is live entertainment, whether we agree with it or not.

There were two prior violations on the record for this license, one in 2011 for purchasing alcohol from other than a wholesaler and in 2010 not having a valid trader’s license.

Ward suggested a 4-day suspension and a fine of $3,000, as a warning to the licensees. Jones agreed. He pointed out that even if something is “permitted” in the zoning code, you may still have to apply for a permit. And the licensees would still have to get permission from the Liquor Board after they received a permit from the city. Moore agreed with Jones and Ward. She told Prevas that there was perhaps a reason that this is the first Daylight Savings case, because everyone knows when the clocks go back. She said, “it’s a clever argument, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

After hearing the punishment, Mr. Prevas asked whether the Commissioners would stay their suspension while he appeals the outcome to the Circuit Court. Chairman Ward became very irritated by this question and denied Prevas’s request. Ward told Prevas that stays undercut the Liquor Board’s authority and what they’re trying to do in the community. He expressed frustration that Circuit Court judges, with no knowledge of the facts, would stay the Board’s punishments.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

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